Physician Led • Outcomes Centered • Patient Focused

Back Pain and Golf

My back often bothers me once I start swinging a club regularly.  What can I do about this?

That depends on the ultimate cause of the pain.  Although only a medical doctor can properly diagnose, there are common reasons for low back pain in golfers that we see all the time.  These include:

  • Poor hip rotationThis is perhaps the most common ultimate contributor to low back pain that comes into our office.  The golf swing demands adequate hip rotation when the feet are planted on the ground and the club is brought into full back swing.  If the hips are too tight to allow this to occur, the back will have to over-rotate to “make up the difference.”  This rotational stress puts a lot of strain across the discs and soft tissue supports of the back, setting a golfer up for possible problems.  Ironically, restriction of hip rotation is a very real cause of reduced club speed, ball velocity and ultimately distance.
  • Tight hip flexor muscles The hip flexors, which elevate the thigh forward (lift the thigh up) originate from the vertebrae of the low back.  When these muscles are overly tight, the spine is pulled forward into a “flexed” position.  This position also places undue stress on the lumbar discs and makes the muscles of the back over-work to compensate for it, predisposing a golfer to muscle strain when walking the long distances that are required during the course of a round.
  • Poor strength and endurance of the thigh musclesWhen the muscles around the thigh don’t function well, the body often has trouble controlling proper motion around the pelvis.  This can result in excess movement at the sacroiliac joints (the joint between the pelvis and the tailbone), which can lead to pain that is perceived in the low back.  Sacroiliac problems also alter proper mechanics at the lumbar spine though, so that true back pain can develop as well.

What can I do to minimize the chance of my back bothering me during the golf season?

If you are currently experiencing symptoms, or have experienced them regularly in the past with golf or similar activities, call our office at (515)221-1102 for physician consultation.  We’ll evaluate your biomechanics from the ground up and make sure that correctable causes are addressed, as well as determine the need for any further diagnostic work-up.

Orthotics have the potential to reduce symptoms of back pain that develop from leg fatigue.  We offer FootMaxx brand custom orthotics, which utilizes computerized force plate technology to customize a weight-bearing orthotic to your foot specifically.  These are priced very competitively in relation to other custom orthotics, at $200/pair ($225/pair if you want them shipped directly to you).  Competitors sell the same exact orthotics for $400+/pair.  We’re confident you won’t find a better deal in town.


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